According to official guidelines published June 25, to coincide with the Day of the Seafarer, "vaccines will be administered by qualified medical staff to all seafarers working on board Cyprus-flagged ships, irrespective of the location of the vessel, and certificates provided.
"Vaccines will also be available to all seafarers serving on board vessels calling at Cypriot ports, regardless of flag, with close ties to Cyprus — such as ships managed by companies based in the country."
According to the press release up to a total of 40,000 seafarers will benefit from the measure, but actual government circular in question says “the vaccines will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis, as long as the stocks last".
Applications to provide the vaccines should be addressed to the Cypriot government. Shipping companies will have no choice as to which vaccine their seafarers will receive and the vaccines will be provided free of charge, at a point of collection designated by Cypriot authorities.
Companies requesting the provision of the vaccines are responsible and carry the cost of all necessary arrangements concerning collection, transport, storage, and administration of the vaccines, without charging seafarers for them.
Mid-June Demetriades, when first revealing the plan to introduce the vaccination programme, said the country would be willing, under certain conditions, to organise jabs for vessels from other nations as well and is exploring the potential to become a vaccination hub for all visiting seafarers.
The vaccine programme is another example of Cyprus’ approach. "We remain committed to finding a realistic approach to a global seafarer vaccination programme," said Cyprus shipping deputy minister Vassilios Demetriades. "This responsibility starts at a national level, which is why we are providing vaccines to all seafarers on Cyprus-flagged and Cyprus-managed vessels."
Cyprus was one of the first nations to recognise seafarers as essential workers and according to Demetriades, more than 20,000 seafarers were repatriated or underwent a crew change through Cypriot ports since May 2020 — even during lockdown periods.
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